I have a PSD which was delivered to me in CMYK. I need it in RGB for web/screen use. How do I convert the color space correctly? if I change the color mode to RGB the black levels are still off.

enter image description here

  • 5
    You are converting it correctly, its just not what you want. Print black is not as black as monitor black. Use levels and move the white and black point until it fits your understanding if what it should be. Welcome to the wonderful world of nonivertible functions. This is by the way much more complex thing than most people would appreciate. Entire books and lives are spent on learning this stuff, the first thing to learn is that theres no one "correct" way but several correctish results depending on what you need, decide and how you interpret the data.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 8:43

2 Answers 2


In CMYK "100% key-color" is not completely black in most applications. This is because when printed it will not be "as dark as it gets". You can make a "darker" black by mixing in cyan, magenta and yellow colors. So this is probably intended by Photoshop.

I guess that you probably would want (more or less) completely black if you are using it for anything on screen.

Have you tried to change the "Intent" and "Use Black Point Compensation" options in the "Convert to Profile" dialog?

Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 - Convert to profile dialog box

This should change the appearance of the black color, though it might have an unwanted effect on the rest of the elements / colors. But you seem like one that would notice if not as desired.

  • That did nothing. I can open the source AI file and change the blacks to true 0, 0, 0. But that will not change the other colors. Maybe its not needed?
    – Anders
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 8:36
  • Are you in Photoshop or Illustrator? If you have the original Illustrator file, of course the ideal would be to use Illustratur to convert the document colors to RGB, then export it to the format you need. Using Illustrator would give you greater control over the conversion of the different colors with the ability to edit a single color if needed.
    – 2rB
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 8:46
  • I tried it there too, same result, after convert black levels are still not 0, 0, 0. Looks washed out
    – Anders
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 9:13
  • 1
    Well, you can convert the image from CMYK to RGB, then tell it to use the "not so black anymore" color as reference as black. In Photoshop you can use the Image -> Adjustments -> Levels. Select the black eyedropper tool and click on the "not so black area". The area will now be completely black. BUT - this will do changes to the levels of the entire image, and this will probably not give you a satisfying result. (Unless you can add a mask.) As stated before, you will be better off converting the Illustrator document to RGB, and replace the CMYK "washed out black" with RGB black.
    – 2rB
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 10:06
  • 1
    Also, read trough this thread: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/20177/… . It is very relevant for you, even though it is the other way around.
    – 2rB
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 10:10

I don't see any problem here. Of-course a little bit of difference will be created since CMYK supports more color range than RGB. Just copy the CMYK values and paste them in the RGB mode as it is. or just copy the color code ( Hex-values ) from the CMYK document and use it in the RBG document.

  • I want to convert an existing PSD with alot of work done and black should be back
    – Anders
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 8:08
  • 1
    CMYK supports fewer colors than RGB. Not more. And theres no need to copy and paste values.. just change the document color mode.
    – Cai
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 9:58

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